The Labour of Literature in Britain and France, 1830-1910

Authorial Work Ethics

  • Marcus Waithe
  • Claire White

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Marcus Waithe, Claire White
    Pages 1-22
  3. Part I

  4. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 79-80
    2. Ross Wilson
      Pages 81-96
  5. Part III

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 127-129
    2. Richard Hibbitt
      Pages 131-145
  6. Part IV

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 183-185
    2. Susan Harrow
      Pages 203-219
    3. Marcus Waithe, Claire White
      Pages 253-257
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 259-268

About this book


This volume examines the anxieties that caused many nineteenth-century writers to insist on literature as a laboured and labouring enterprise. Following Isaac D’Israeli’s gloss on Jean de La Bruyère, it asks, in particular, whether writing should be ‘called working’. Whereas previous studies have focused on national literatures in isolation, this volume demonstrates the two-way traffic between British and French conceptions of literary labour. It questions assumed areas of affinity and difference, beginning with the labour politics of the early nineteenth century and their common root in the French Revolution. It also scrutinises the received view of France as a source of a ‘leisure ethic’, and of British writers as either rejecting or self-consciously mimicking French models. Individual essays consider examples of how different writers approached their work, while also evoking a broader notion of ‘work ethics’, understood as a humane practice, whereby values, benefits, and responsibilities, are weighed up.


Literature in Britain and France nineteenth century literature authorial work ethics writing as working Emile Zola biography

Editors and affiliations

  • Marcus Waithe
    • 1
  • Claire White
    • 2
  1. 1.Magdalene CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Girton CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information